Once upon a time we had a cool website, it had a bunch of pages that nobody visited, and some content that nobody read.
In January 2017, I decided to rip it to the bare studs and redo it. My plan was to post a blog post every single week in 2017, and I wanted to focus on the content only. I used the default WordPress 2017 template, and got to work making it pretty. A few hours later, I relaunched the site with the new template.
“That’s it?” Craig said. “This website is pretty bland isn’t it?”
“Yup” I replied. “It’s content first. Let’s see what works and what doesn’t, and we’ll see where we go from here.”
It’s been seven months since I launched that “temporary website”, in that time we have launched many different client sites, and we’ve completed untold other things, and yet NorthIQ is still using a temporary website.
This is what is wrong with that website.
“This thing is bad, very bad, no good, and terrible.”
The first step was to look at our website critically and ask the same questions for our website that we do for every client.
- What is our web site doing for us?
- Is our web site contributing to our brand?
- Does our web site help us find new clients?
- Is the web site contributing to the business?
We looked at all of this, and looked at our calendar.
Together we came to the conclusion that we don’t have time to focus on our website.
We realized immediately that was the worst decision we could make.
We are very busy right now. We have a lot of business coming in, and looking at the business as a whole, it’s healthy right now, but that’s exactly why this is the right time to tackle our website.
When a business is healthy, it has the capital to spend on future growth projects, when it is in a downturn, those growth projects are the first to go.
A huge mistake that companies who build websites for clients make is working on their own site during down times. When business is down is the exact time your website should be doing work for you.
If you’re working on your website in a down period, you’re missing massive opportunities.
For us, despite how busy we are right now, this is the perfect time to work on our website.
The Problems With NorthIQ.com
This site suffers from “The Cobblers Children” phenomenon. We know that its shoes are horrible and shoddy, but we just haven’t had time to fix them. Our kids are good kids though, they deserve nice things, so we wanted to come up with some things we could do for them.
An Unclear Purpose
The website is currently just promoting our content, but that content ranges the gamut of marketing, websites, lead gathering, funnel management, Digital Strategy and more. This leads to another huge problem.
No Indication of What We Do
As a business, what exactly does NorthIQ do? Our About Us page says that we build websites, and it’s true, we do that, but we’re responsible for so much more. Our clients are seeing the most success from our lead nurturing and lead optimization services. A website is only the first step on a long journey.
Did you know we run a Software-as-a-Service application for Comic Shops? Did you know that we have an amazing Linked In Sales Prospecting program? Do you know that we’re experts in Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot and Mailchimp? Do you know about our skills in Google Analytics and Google Adwords? That we’ve got certifications in Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing?
Of course you don’t because our website doesn’t mention it anywhere!
A Lack of Social Proof
People love what we do, Mitch Dawson of Raven Studio recently had amazingly nice things to say about us, but we’re not focusing that anywhere on our website. We’ve built over a dozen websites in the last two years, and we’ve generated thousands of sales opportunities for our customers, but we don’t have a basic portfolio of services, or even a showcase of the work we have done for our clients.
Not Using Our Own Technology
No Conversion Paths
We are experts in funnel management and conversion optimization. There is one link on our entire site to our newsletter, and a contact us form. That’s it.
Our Best Content is Buried
We have three pieces of content that we share with our clients often.
They’re very hard to find right now. There is no easy link to our newsletter, we don’t keep an archive of the newsletter handy, and in general if the content isn’t one of the last 4 posts, you’ll probably never see it.Our Onboarding Documents are UnsearchableWe have created some incredible tools to help us understand what our clients do. These tools are valuable to us, but we’ve been told by clients that they also help them understand the process of working with an outside agency more. Of course the only way you’ll find them is by us sending you a link.
Sharing is Hard
We have some generic share buttons, but we’re not actively encouraging that people share our content like the good folks at Groove do.
Few Calls to Action
We don’t really tell anyone what we want them to do on our site, we don’t help people understand what we do, or how we work with them.
What can we do to fix it?
I’m already working on a new website that will solve many of our problems. I am building a “content first” new Divi powered theme that will maintain a focus on our content, but also push our calls to action to the forefront.
We are providing excellent value to our clients, but when the day ends and the bills are paid, we’re not paying enough attention to our own house. We’re busy, so we don’t think that we need to update anything, but by the time we realize that new business isn’t coming in, it will already be too late.
That’s why I am committed to completing this website redesign and relaunch which will address all of the issues above. for the end of September.
There. I’ve written it and shared it publicly. Now I have to do it!
Brian Garside has been building websites for two decades and has worked on some of the largest websites in Canadian media. He focuses on creating good user experiences and building websites that make their owners money. Brian is certified in blogging and content marketing from Shaw Academy.